I was rewatching Halle Berry’s Catwoman tonite, and it got me thinking. I know that Wonder Woman is supposed to be this great re-visioning of what it means to be a strong, independent woman. I know many people looked at Catwoman as a complete and utter failure because of any number of excuses.
But what struck me is that what the movie does is reveals that women can only be free when they choose to define themselves, when they choose their identity and are true to it. It’s not about being “good” or being “bad,” but being who they are at their core.
For some women, being like Sharon Stone (Laurel Hadere) or Alex Borstein (Patience’s friend Sally) is who they want to be. They want to fit in with the world and build power and freedom within the limitations of what our society thinks is appropriate behavior for a woman.
They think if they can somehow attain that power (through their relative “attractiveness” or how closely to the supposed feminine ideal they can be) then they will be accorded the freedom to be themselves. The problem is, by the time that they attain that height, they have become something completely at odds with who they really are. Sadly, if they choose to try to reflect that inner truth, all of that so-called “power” or “freedom” disappears like a burst soap bubble.
The “living marble” that Laurel has become is a wonderful metaphor for this false self. We choose to try to conform as a way to keep from being hurt. We become who our family wants, who our husband or partner wants, who their children or friend group wants us to be — or who WE think they want us to be.
While I’m not quite as bad as my Grammar-Nazi sister, there are some frustrations that pop up once in a while. Plus, I seem to be getting reminders in the last few months that using the correct terms — especially with your mental and physical health care personnel — is extremely important.
My frustrations with other people’s misuse of idioms include the following cringe-worthy items:
- “For intensive purposes” — No, that would be “for all INTENTS AND purposes”
- “Extract revenge” — “EXACT revenge”
- “Part and partial” — “part and PARCEL”
- “By in large” — “by AND large”
- “Case and point” — “case IN point”
- “Orientate” — “ORIENT” (the noun form — orientation — does NOT get translated into orientate! The correct verb form is ORIENT). The same issue seems to happen with the noun form of conversation — No, the verb form is NOT conversating. It is CONVERSING
But, that’s a bunny trail. The real issue is that too often we seem to be forgetting that just because a descriptive word or phrase makes sense to us, it rarely means the exact thing to someone else. Remember my discussion on connotation versus denotation? (links to definitions, if you didn’t read the previous post)
I had a recent interaction with someone where I was repeatedly required to ask how they were defining their terms. Sadly, their idea of “defining their terms” was to repeat the word or phrase with the inclusion of a generalized adjective (such as “very” or “extremely”). This is NOT defining your terms. In fact, it isn’t even communicating.
This should be short and sweet (OK, maybe I do pun sometimes. What’s the pun? I craved picked beets, and not all sugar is made from cane. Some of it comes from beets).
Every once in a while, I’ll get a craving. Sometimes it’s real, and sometimes it isn’t.
So why are there real and unreal cravings?
Well, the answer to that involves a story from my life (really? Like I NEVER tell stories about me here – for those humor-challenged, yes, that was sarcasm).
During much of my childhood, adolescence, and young adult years my parents often blamed my weight on “sneaking food” or when I hit teen years, that I must have an eating disorder. (Yes, fat people can have eating disorders. And yes, even anorexia and bulimia).
At one point my father insisted I join an eating disorder support group. Well, less of a support group and more like group therapy.
I may have posted this before, but I’m sure it is of help to someone else out there.
My ex-husband has written (and self-published) a book about coping with PTSD. And yes, I picked up a copy to see how he handled our relationship. I tried not to buy one, but my need to know what he was saying to his fans about me overwhelmed my need to not open slowly healing wounds.
Bluntly put, he was pretty damned honest. In fact, chapter 12 of the book is pretty much straight from our marriage. Yes, I enabled him. Yes, I was unable to keep my boundaries in place when dealing with him. I let my compassion for his illness overwhelm my own self-worth, to the point where I only had worth to the extent of how well I was helping him. I let life with him worsen until I developed PTSD of my own from his own choices of losing control and choosing not to work on his issues.
You have to understand, Bones is one of my absolutely favorite TV shows. Just, a note for those who watch the show, and may not have yet caught up to the current season, I will have a LOT of spoilers behind the Read More link. So, if you don’t want spoilers, I suggest you stop reading this post right now.
I recently met someone who is far worse off than myself. This isn’t one of those “Don’t think you have it bad! Other people have it worse!” kind of posts.
Quite the opposite. It’s a post about understanding.
Lady Gaga has a song called “Til It Happens To You” that speaks to this very strongly. When I allow myself to listen or watch it, it still makes me cry.
Abuse, just like rape, is something that people who have not experienced it can truly understand. I’m sorry, but that is the truth. It’s no different than the gendered differences (women cannot necessarily understand what it is like to be a man, nor a man understand what it is like to be a woman), ethnicity differences (both sides of the racial issues do not necessarily understand the other side’s life experience), or any of a million differences.